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Sep 04 2013

WW: Panic Hardware Protection

Category: Egress,Panic Hardware,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 12:06 am Comments (33)

Assuming this is the back door of a restaurant, what’s wrong with these pictures sent in by Eric Miles of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies (other than the fact that the door is filthy!)?

Panic Hardware Protection

Panic Hardware Protection 2

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33 Responses to “WW: Panic Hardware Protection”

  1. Matt F says:

    I’m not sure what that guard is for, but the push pad must be a minimum of 50% door width… And I think I see some cockroaches blocking the path of egress!

  2. Anon says:

    Push bar needs to take up 60%+ of the door.

  3. Tom Breese says:

    OO! OO! I know!!

  4. Tom Butler says:

    No closer (visible)
    Several inches of the required open area of panic bar is covered.

  5. Karl Pfeffer says:

    They covered a portion of the push pad with the protection plate.

  6. Jon Payne says:

    The most obvious problem is the novel “protective guard” installed over the panic device to reduce damage, presumably from rolling carts pushed by employees. Therefore (from your website) ” If the length of the touchpad or crossbar is at not least half the width of the door, the hardware is not code-compliant.” It looks like it is pretty close to 1/2 the width but it is hard to tell from the picture. Is the device UL labeled as a fire exit device?

  7. Ray says:

    it is against the code!

  8. Clair E Gunnet Jr AHC says:

    Operable portionof the panic bar does not extend the required, I believe, 2/3’s the width of the door. The protection piece prevents access to the operable portionof the bar underneath the protection piece.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Clair –

      The current codes require that the actuating portion be at least 1/2 the width of the door but you’re on the right track! There were definitely some codes that required 2/3 but I haven’t seen any recently. There might be some local codes that still say 2/3 though.

      – Lori

  9. Richard Leibowitz says:

    The actuation portion of the releasing devise shall extend at least one-half of the door leaf width.. IBC 1008.1.10.1

  10. Lee Francisco says:

    The exit device touchpad does not extend half the width of the door. The “guard” covers up too much of the pad.

  11. nitramnaed says:

    If the panic device is not required per code does it have to meet the 50% rule?

    • Lori says:

      If the panic hardware is not required by code, then in my opinion the code doesn’t mandate a certain width. An egress door that’s not serving an Assembly or Educational Occupancy with 50+ or 100+ occupants (depending on which code) could have a lever handle, which is obviously not very long, so I don’t see why you couldn’t have a shorter touchpad.

      With that said, some code officials interpret things differently. For example (unrelated to panic hardware), we’ve had several discussions on the Building Code Forum about whether a door that isn’t a required egress door has to meet the requirements of an egress door. Some AHJs say that if it looks like an egress door it has to allow free egress, some say if it’s not an egress door it should have a sign stating “not an exit” and others say if it’s not a required egress door you can put a double-cylinder deadlock on it. So it’s always possible the code official will see things in a different light. There’s another comment from CDA who is a fire inspector, so I will ask his opinion.

    • Lori says:

      See the comment from Joel Luper (code official). He would require the touchpad to be at least half the width of the door, even if panic hardware is not required for this location.

  12. cda says:

    so if the door is not required to have panic hardware,

    Is the door/ panic hardware legal than??

    • Lori says:

      If panic hardware is not required by code, then there’s no mandate on the length of the touchpad. Panic hardware is used in a lot of places that it’s not required by code. But what’s your opinion? If the panic isn’t required, does it have to meet the requirements pertaining to a door with panic hardware? It’s kind of like the discussion we keep having on the Building Code Forum about whether all doors have to allow egress whether they’re required or not.

  13. Joel Luper says:

    Interpretation in our area is that if a fire safety device or system is in place, it must be operational and meet code, regardless whether or not it is required.

    • Lori says:

      Interesting! That’s just what I was getting at in my replies to the two comments/questions about that. So you would require the protective plate to be removed, or cut back to show the touchpad length of half the width of the door, even if this was a location that did not require panic hardware?

    • Lori says:

      I have another question for you that comes up a lot…if a door has panic hardware, does it have to lead to an egress route? For example, on a pair of fire doors with automatic operators, you need positive latching for fire, but also the ability to retract the latches electronically for the auto operator to open the doors. This is accomplished by using fire exit hardware with electric latch retraction. But if the doors are inswinging (and don’t serve an occupant load that would require them to be outswinging), is it a problem that the doors have fire exit hardware but lead to a room rather than a means of egress?

  14. Joel Luper says:

    The answer to your questions are:

    1. Yes I would require the plate to be cut back to meet the code requirement.

    2. I believe that the IBC and NFPA 101 do not allow exiting through another except:
    a. if the room is part of an approved suite (health care only),
    b. If the room is an accessory space to the room in question (for example; a smaller dining room off a larger dining room)

    However, in many instances, if the doors in question are not required exits and there is no exit sign directing egress through the door, it can open into a non-exit access corridor.

    • Lori says:

      Thanks Joel – In the example I’m thinking of, you wouldn’t be exiting through another space. Imagine a procedure room in a hospital, with the doors swinging into the room. The means of egress out of the procedure room would be through the doors in question, by pulling the door toward you (occupant load of less than 50). But because of the operational requirements of the doors/hardware, there are non-locking levers on the room side, and panic hardware on the corridor side. There’s free egress from the room via the levers, but people have expressed concern about the panic hardware giving the impression that the doors lead to an exit, when they actually lead to an enclosed room.

  15. Joel Luper says:

    In this case they are correct to be concerned. The panic hardware does give a false impression that this is a way out. The best way to resolve this is to have an electric door opener with push paddle actuator. The rest of the hardware can remain the same.

  16. Joel Luper says:

    You didn’t mention that this a fire-rated door. There is standard push/pull patient room door hardware that might function in lieu of the panic hardware. This might not work if the latching is at the top or the bottom of the door. We would then usually see an automatic flush bolt on one leaf and then the paddle type push/pull on the ‘active’ leaf. The flush bolt would automatically release when the active leaf is opened. This would require coordination of the closer speeds in order for the active leaf to positively latch.

    You are absolutely correct the the local AHJ is responsible to approve any code-related change/interpretation.

  17. Cda says:

    I have no problem using panic hardware on a non exit non rated door not leading to an exit.

    Should not be a problem on a larger door, if it does not go half the width, if not required

  18. fireman says:

    Oregon Fire Code 2010 states if non-code required life and safety equipment is installed, it must be maintained as per code, or removed.

    I would wimp out and ask my State FM for his opinion. I would use e-mail & he would e-mail his response. Then I would scan the e-mails into my customers file.

  19. Mark Brockmann says:

    I know this is a very old thread but am hoping someone can help. Weekly we move large heavy rolling cabinets in and out of a school building with the same style panic bar on the door as the one pictured. Is anyone aware of a guard designed to protect from damage that can be placed over the bar system and then removed after the moving takes place or would this be a custom metal work job only. I was hoping to find an aftermarket product that will help us keep our door bar from being ripped apart by catching cabinets on the end cap of the bar.

  20. R says:

    for benefit of mark brockman, with input from lori green appreciated, peruse this link.. i’m sure there are others, but let this inspire your imagination…

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